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James and Du Bois: Overcoming Certain Blindnesses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abstract

 

Some consider W.E.B. Du Bois to be a Hegelian, others consider him a Marxist.  And, even though it is known that William James had a profound impact on his life, Du Bois is rarely classified as a pragmatist.  I argue that Du Bois was, in fact, a pragmatist.  As I see it, the link lies in the pragmatic worldview and a shared goal of overcoming certain blindnesses.  By comparing James’ worldview to Du Bois’ worldview, I am able to give an account of what I find to be a definite pragmatist strain in Du Bois.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

I must admit that my interest in this topic began with my naive curiosity about W.E.B. Du Bois and his relation to pragmatism.  I knew that Du Bois studied at Harvard with William James, Josiah Royce, and George Santayana.  I also knew that Du Bois held James in high regard, referring to him as a "friend and guide to clear thinking."[1]  These historical tidbits are quite suggestive, but, on my view, not sufficient to warrant the classification of Du Bois as a pragmatist.  Reading contemporary articles on Du Bois, I found the explanations that I encountered to be somewhat vague, inadequate, or simply contrary to my understanding.[2]  Thus, much of this project is my attempt at locating sufficient reason to classify Du Bois as a pragmatist. 

In the end, I have come to believe that Du Bois was, in fact, a pragmatist.  As I see it, the link lies in the pragmatic worldview and a shared goal of overcoming certain blindnesses.  Thus, by comparing James’ worldview to Du Bois’ worldview, I am able to give an account of what I find to be a definite pragmatist strain in Du Bois. 

 

§1  James: Pragmatic Vision

In The American Evasion of Philosophy, Cornel West gives Du Bois the title of "The Jamesian Organic Intellectual."[3]  But, one must ask: what makes Du Bois so Jamesian?  Well, we mustn’t forget that Du Bois himself reports to have attended Harvard while James was developing his pragmatic philosophy.[4]  Du Bois also claims that James guided him out of "the sterilities of scholastic philosophy to realist pragmatism."[5]  So, I think that it would be best for us to first come to grips with James’ notion of pragmatism.  In Pragmatism (1907), James describes pragmatism as both a theory of truth and a method of solving metaphysical disputes which were previously considered interminable.  But more than just a theory or method, pragmatism is an attitude of orientation, viz., "the attitude of looking away from first things, principles, ‘categories,’ supposed necessities; and of looking towards last things, fruits, consequences, facts."[6]  Looking away from these "first things," pragmatic inquiry looks to that which is contained within human experience. 

James’ methodology is empirical and experimental.  That is, he thought philosophers should assess the viability of their theories by the actual consequences they bring.  If our theories are unsuccessful, we, as good pragmatists, should be willing to revise them.  Thus, James’ pragmatic inquiry is fallibilistic.  It is fallibilistic in the sense that the he recognizes that what is currently held as truth could always be discredited by future experiments.  James is also concerned with contextualizing his philosophy.  So, when confronting an issue, the pragmatist should try to keep his or her inquiry to a particular context.  For, if one is to truly understand an issue, one should know the context in which the particular issue arose (or arises).  Thus, pragmatic inquiry is experimental, fallibilistic, and contextual.  And James thought that by paying close attention to concrete, contextualized, experimental inquiries, the pragmatist gets "an indication of the ways in which existing realities may be changed."[7]  Thus, we see that, unlike most traditional philosophies, James’ pragmatism is not a philosophy of self-evident principles and dogmatism.  It is a philosophy of process, of evolution, of continued reassessment.

Importantly, James believed that a person’s philosophical attitude of orientation affects the way in which he or she experiences the world.  For instance, if one’s philosophy lulls one into believing that he or she holds the only irrefutable, unflinching truth, it is likely that this person will be intolerant to those people who do not acknowledge this same truth.  One should recall that James begins his Pragmatism lectures intimating that "the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe," and he repeats this in A Pluralistic Universe.[8]  Pragmatism is, in this sense, a Weltanschauung, a worldview, a way of looking at the world – a certain type of vision. 

It is also important to recognize that James vision was pluralistic.  Alain Locke warns us that many scholars fail to notice this aspect of James’ philosophy.[9]  He writes:

When William James inaugurated his all-out campaign against intellectual absolutism, though radical empiricism and pragmatism were his shield and buckler, his trusty right-arm sword, we should remember, was pluralism.[10] 

 

 

Pluralism is, indeed, a prominent feature in James’ philosophy and is found throughout his corpus.  Most striking in this regard is his essay "On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings."  Therein, James discusses the blindness found in human beings, i.e., "the blindness with which we all are afflicted in regard to the feelings of creatures and people different from ourselves."[11]  This means that all of us are restricted from knowing the innermost sentiments of people different from us.  Thus, we have no way of knowing the value these sentiments hold for these people.  And, not knowing these values, it is easy for us fail to take into account their most important sentiments.  The common result is intolerance.[12]  To combat this tendency, James urges us to continuously strive for a sympathetic understanding of other people’s values and perspectives.  In other words, we should be aware that we do not have all the answers, and we should not judge people as if we did.  In my mind, this acceptance of differing perspectives – this call for tolerance and sympathetic understanding – displays James’ robust notion of pluralism.

Locke also points out that James’ pluralism is somehow linked to democracy.  He writes:

[James] even went so far as to hint, in a way that his generation was not prepared to understand, at a vital connection between pluralism and democracy.[13]

 

 

This observation is corroborated by James’ colleague, Josiah Royce, who marks James as "an essentially democratic thinker" because of his openness to the possibility of differing experiences and differing ways of thinking about our experiences.[14]  Similarly, George Santayana recounts: 

William James kept his mind and heart wide open to all that might seem, to polite minds, odd, personal, or visionary in religion and philosophy. … He thought, with his unusual modesty, that any of these might have something to teach him.[15]

 

 

Here, Santayana acknowledges James’ constant effort to observe his own blindness.  By remaining open-minded to all ideas, even the peculiar, James displays his willingness to acknowledge differing perspectives.  James, himself, writes, "the practical consequence of [a pluralistic philosophy] is the well-known democratic respect for the sacredness of individuality."[16]

On another occasion, James writes:

We ought … delicately and profoundly to respect one another’s mental freedom – then only shall we bring about the intellectual republic; then only shall we have that spirit of inner tolerance without which all our outer tolerance is soulless…[17]

 

 

As discussed above, James allowed that others could always be right.  This practice implies that people do, in fact, think differently and that each of these different ways of thinking should be allowed to have their own voice.  If it were possible to get all of these alternative ways of thinking to coexist peacefully, we would reach what James calls an intellectual republic of tolerant spirits.  Taking all of this into account, I can’t help but infer that James is alluding to a sort of intellectual democracy.  

Although James was concerned with tolerance, pluralism, and an intellectual democracy, we should not assume that James possessed perfect vision.  James, too, had his own blindness.  For instance, it has been pointed out recently that James did not seem to recognize his own blindness toward the experiences of women.[18]  I do not mean to condone blatant chauvinism, but some blindness should be expected.  James does not assume a privileged, unobstructed perspective.  He does not claim perfect vision.  James, like all of us, had to consciously work to dispel certain blindnesses.  But, James has done us a great service.  James has supplied us with a way of thinking about the diversity of our experiences.  As Santayana reports, "Nobody ever recognized more heartily the chance that others had of being right, and the right they had to be different."[19] 

 

§2  Du Bois: Beyond the Veil

W.E.B. Du Bois was raised in the Northeastern corner of the United States (viz., Massachusetts), sheltered to a great extent from the plight of Black folk in the South.  Though not completely sheltered from discrimination, Du Bois, as one of the few Negro children in town, attended integrated elementary and secondary schools and excelled.  Du Bois spent his first two years of undergraduate education at Fisk University, then transferred to Harvard where he received his B.A. and Ph.D.[20]  Once at Harvard, as was mentioned before, Du Bois was given the opportunity to work with some of the greatest intellectual minds America has ever produced.  During his time at Harvard, Du Bois was also afforded the opportunity to study in Germany and thereby travel throughout Europe.  Thus, it appears that Du Bois, as a Black man in the high time of racial segregation, led a privileged life.  Yet, one must not forget that Fisk University is a historic Black college located in Nashville, Tennessee, which sits firmly on the Southern side of the Mason-Dixon Line.  The time he spent at Fisk was an immense learning experience for Du Bois.  There, he was given, for the first time, the opportunity to bond with a large Black community.  And, his summers were spent teaching underprivileged Black folk in the countryside.  It was during these years that Du Bois became aware of his own blindness to the struggle of Black folk.  Du Bois, himself, writes, "I was haunted by a New England vision."[21] 

As Du Bois saw it, the typical Black person was born within a veil of exploitation, oppression, and racism.  Du Bois writes:

After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world, – a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world.[22]

 

 

This act of seeing oneself through the eyes of an oppressor – this second-sightedness – is what Du Bois describes as double-consciousness.  This is both a curse and a gift.  For, Black people were placed in the strange position of, on the one hand, being Americans and loving this country and, on the other hand, being Black and, thus, being despised, tormented, and exploited by the majority of their fellow countrymen (White America).  And, thus, the history of the American Negro is a history of struggle – the history of Black folk striving to somehow reconcile this discrepancy.  Du Bois held that, although Black people were most often treated with hostility within their own country, they held an invaluable perspective of the country.[23]  Black people experienced the glaring pitfalls of the American society firsthand.  Thus, if the United States had wished to reform itself, it would have been in its best interest to harvest these insights from Black folks.  Du Bois believed that Black folk must play an integral part in the raising of social consciousness in this country; that Black folks must have a part in pointing out the blindnesses of White America.  Du Bois recognized this and made it his life’s work.

      Du Bois was also very aware of the plight of women.[24]  He felt the need to elucidate the blindness that our country displays towards this issue.  But, Du Bois’ analysis did not stop with class and gender problems; it extended beyond that.  His analysis incorporated race into this matrix.  While all the while championing liberation for all women, Du Bois provides persuasive arguments stating that Black women, in particular, have been the most hard-hit in terms of subjugation.  The idea is that, throughout American history, Black women have had to deal with subjugation based on both sex and race, while their white counterparts only had to endure subjugation based on sex.  In "Of the Ruling of Men" Du Bois writes:

In the last analysis only the sufferer knows his sufferings and that no state can be strong which excludes from its expressed wisdom the knowledge possessed by mothers, wives, and daughters. We have but to view the unsatisfactory relations of the sexes the world over and the problem of children to realize how desperately we need this excluded wisdom.[25]

 

 

In order to be "strong" we must attempt to overcome our blindnesses towards women, especially those at the bottom of the well.  It is only then that we, as a society, will be able to make meaningful progress. 

 

§4  Du Bois: Marxist or Pragmatist?

As I see it, there are two major obstacles that stand in the way of me claiming Du Bois as a pragmatist.  First, Du Bois, in his last autobiography, states as clear as could be: "I believe in communism."[26]  Secondly, it is common knowledge that Du Bois submitted an application for membership to the American Communist Party in 1961, just before committing himself to self-imposed exile.[27]  Considering this compelling evidence, many believe that Du Bois, in his maturity, was a Marxist.  But, I would claim that, although Du Bois’ analysis becomes increasing concerned with the abolition of the system of exploiting labor, the socialization of land, machines, and materials, and the uplift of the working class, he was never a Marxist through and through.[28] 

First, Du Bois did not buy into the inevitability of revolution.  In Dusk of Dawn (1940), Du Bois writes:

I was not and am not a communist. I do not believe in the dogma of inevitable revolution in order to right economic wrong. I think war is worse than hell, and that it seldom or never forwards the advance of the world.[29]

 

 

Here, Du Bois clearly states that he does not accept the dogmatism of the then existing Marxist Parties, like the American Communist Party.  Du Bois, as I read him, was a meliorist.  Instead of strife, war, and revolution, Du Bois calls for reason and sound reform.[30]  Du Bois calls for the development of human intelligence in the general public, the democratic control of industry, and, most importantly, a rich education for the sake of our children’s children.  And, as he puts it:

All this [i.e., intelligent reform] means time and development. It comes not complete by instant revolution of a day, nor yet by the deferred evolution of a thousand years – it comes daily, bit by bit and step by step, as men and women learn and grow and as children are trained in Truth.[31]

 

 

Du Bois was aware that sound reform takes time and great human effort.  Thus, it seems that Du Bois’ position is in opposition to the Marxist notion of inevitable revolution.

      So, how am I to explain Du Bois’ endorsement of communism?  Well, after stating his belief in communism, Du Bois goes on to say: "I mean by communism, a planned way of life in the production of wealth and work designed for building a state whose highest object is the highest welfare of its people and not merely the profit of a part."[32]  This is a thin conception of communism, one comparable to Sidney Hook’s conception in a 1934 piece called "Communism without Dogmas."[33]  In this sense, communism is merely "a form of social organization in which the associated producers democratically control the production and distribution of goods."[34]  One may be a communist, in this thin sense, yet reject the dogmas of the orthodox Marxist and Communist Parties.  Taking this notion of communism into account, it seems that, in this particular passage of his autobiography, Du Bois is much more interested in denouncing capitalism than pledging allegiance to either party.

      And what of Du Bois’ application to the American Communist Party?  I guess that one could argue that Du Bois, as a true experimentalist, saw the American Communist Party as the organization most likely to bring about substantial change at that particular time in American history.  Du Bois was known to join a group just as long as it was effective, and disassociate himself when the group failed to meet its purpose.  This sort of temporary coalition is exhibited in Du Bois’ relationship with the NAACP.[35]  On the other hand, my first inclination was to dismiss the application as a flippant gesture, and I still think that that is the best explanation.[36]  We know that the McCarran Internal Security Act – also known as the Anticommunist Law – was declared constitutional in 1950.  We also know that Du Bois was suspected of communist activity.[37]  But, most importantly, in 1961, the Supreme Court found that the Communist Party of the United States was a "Communist action organization," within the meaning of the McCarran Internal Security Act.  That same year, in protest, the 93-year-old Du Bois joined the American Communist Party and took up residence in Ghana.

My argument does not rest solely upon a reductio.  I think that Du Bois’ pragmatism is visible in his methodology.  In 1944, Du Bois distinguishes three major phases in his "evolving program for Negro freedom."[38]  The first phase (ca. 1885-1910) was the program captured by the expression "The Truth shall make ye free."  During this period, Du Bois worked at attaining scientific rigor.[39]  He thought that if he could present meticulous, scientific research dispelling racist myths and exposing the great injustices suffered by Black Americans, then White America, seeing the error in its ways, would hasten to set things right.  Note that during this period Du Bois made his appeal to White America, yet apathy and indifference was the common result.  That is to say, this program was ineffective; the mere presentation of the results of rigorous scientific inquiry is insufficient to induce genuine social and political change.

The second phase (ca. 1900-1930) is captured by Jane Addams’ idiom: "the cure for the ills of Democracy is more Democracy."[40]  It was Du Bois’ project to communicate to the thinking public, Black and White, the fact that democracy and race prejudice are diametrically opposed.[41]  He tried to give White America a glimpse of America from behind the veil; that is, from the perspective of a Black person.  Du Bois tried to alert White America of its blindness toward the experiences of Black folks.[42]  He supposed that White and Black people would rise and rally in defense of democracy.  And, though he may have stirred the democratic spirit in some people, this program did little to change the actual social conditions of America.  This may go to show that aesthetically pleasing appeals to sympathy directed at changing perceptions, when taken alone, are insufficient to produce meaningful social and political change.

In the third phase (ca. 1928-1944), Du Bois’ project became one of survival, of maintaining.[43]  Gaining certain insights into capitalistic economic forces from Marx and deeply ingrained, sub-conscious tendencies from Freud, Du Bois realized that the vast social change he hoped for would not come quickly or easily.  First, there was too much money to be made exploiting the Black folk of the World.  Secondly, Whites, especially in the Southern United States, had become accustomed to perceiving and treating Blacks as less than human.  These were the days of Jim Crow -- lynching was rampant.  Du Bois was forced to admit that, at that particular time in America, it was most important "to secure the survival of the Negro race."[44]  He writes:

It is the duty of the black race to maintain its cultural advance, not for itself alone, but for the emancipation of mankind, the realization of democracy and the progress of civilization.[45]

 

 

In this light, the notion of racial conservation takes on new meaning.  Du Bois was calling for Black folks to bind together and learn to recognize the economic forces at play.  He wished to combine economic inquiry and organized action among Negroes to find methods to best weather the storm of hatred, oppression, and violence in America.  Unfortunately, Du Bois did not live to see the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965; he died in 1963, just before the civil rights march on Washington.  Nevertheless, to the end, Du Bois was concerned with chronicling "the Blindspot in the eyes of America."[46]

The point is that, throughout his career, Du Bois’ program remained experimental, fallibilist, evolutionary, and, in large part, concerned with making the experiences of Black folk visible.  And, if we, along with John Dewey, consider democracy to be a "faith in the potentialities of human nature as that nature is exhibited in every human being irrespective of race, color, sex, birth and family, of material or cultural wealth,"[47] it is clear that Du Bois was extremely committed to the pragmatist project of deepening our democracy. 

 

Conclusion

      In this paper, it has been my goal to elucidate a pragmatist strand in W.E.B. Bois that begins with William James.  It appears to me that the success of this paper hangs on my ability to outline an acceptable description of pragmatism, then locate it in the works of each of these philosophers.  Along these lines, I have tried to give a reading of James’ pragmatism which borrows heavily upon notions (i) of pragmatism as a fallibilist, experimental worldview, (ii) of pragmatism being, in a sense, synonymous with tolerance and pluralism, and, in turn, (iii) that pluralism is closely linked with democracy.  If one grants me this – if one is willing to accept that a genuine concern with overcoming blindnesses lies at the heart of the pragmatic worldview, then it seems that I have located a definite pragmatist strain in Du Bois’ philosophy.

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

Addams, Jane, Democracy and Social Ethics. Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002.

 

Bell, Benard, Emily Grosholz, and James Stewart (eds.), W.E.B. Du Bois on Race & Culture: Philosophy, Politics, and Poetics. New York: Routledge, 1996.

 

Campbell, James, "Du Bois and James," Charles Saunders Peirce Society, Summer 1992, Vol. XXVIII, No. 3, pp. 569-581.

 

Dewey, John, "Creative Democracy – The Task before Us," in The Later Works, Vol. 14. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988.

 

Du Bois, W.E.B., Against Racism: Unpublished Essays, Papers, Addresses, 1887-1961, ed. Hebert Aptheker. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1985.

 

-----, Black Reconstruction in American: An Essay Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880. New York: Atheneum, 1977.

 

-----, Color and Democracy: Colonies and Peace. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1945.

 

-----, Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil. Amherst, NY: Humanity Books, 2003.

 

-----, Dusk of Dawn: An Essay toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept in Writings. New York: The Library of America, 1986.

 

-----, The Autobiography of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century. New York: International Publishers, 1968.

 

-----, The Souls of Black Folk. New York: The Library of America, 1990.

 

-----, The Negro American Family.  Westport, CT: Negro Universities Press, 1969.

 

-----, W.E.B. Du Bois: A Reader, ed. D.L. Lewis. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1995.

 

Hook, Sidney, Pragmatism, Democracy, and Freedom: The Essential Essays, eds. Talisse and Tempio. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2002.

 

James, William, Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975

 

-----, Writings 1878-1899, ed. G.E. Myers. New York: The Library of America, 1992.

 

Lewis, David Levering, W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1993.

 

-----, W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2000.

 

Livingston, James, Pragmatism, Feminism, and Democracy: Rethinking the Politics of American History. New York: Routledge, 2001.

 

Locke, Alain, The Philosophy of Alain Locke: Harlem Renaissance and Beyond, ed. Leonard Harris. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989.

 

Milligan, Nancy Muller, "W.E.B Du Bois’ American Pragmatism," Journal of American Culture, 1985, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 31-37.

 

Posnock, Ross, Color & Culture: Black Writers and the Making of the Modern Intellectual. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998.

 

Olson, Joel, "The Democratic Problem of the White Citizen," Constellations, 2001, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 163- 183.

 

Residents of Hull-House, Hull-House Maps and Papers: A Presentation of Nationalities and Wages in a Congested District in Chicago, Together with Comments and Essays on Problems Growing Out of the Social Conditions. New York: Arno Press & The New York Times, 1970.

 

Royce, Josiah, The Basic Writings of Josiah Royce, ed. John J. McDermott. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969.

 

Santayana, George, Character & Opinion in the United States. New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1956.

 

-----, The Genteel Tradition, ed. D.L. Wilson. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998.

 

Seigfried, Charlene Haddock, Pragmatism and Feminism: Reweaving the Social Fabric. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996.

 

-----, William James’s Radical Reconstruction of Philosophy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1990.

 

West, Cornel, The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.

 

Zamir, Shamoon, Dark Voices: W.E.B. Du Bois and American Thought, 1888-1903. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.



[1] Du Bois, "A Negro Student at Harvard at the End of the Nineteenth Century," W.E.B. Du Bois: A Reader, p. 279.

[2] See, e.g., James Campbell, "Du Bois and James"; Nancy Milligan, "W.E.B. Du Bois’ American Pragmatism"; Ross Posnock, Color & Culture, pp. 48-145; Cornel West, The American Evasion of Philosophy, pp. 138-150; Shamoon Zamir, Dark Voices.

[3] West, The American Evasion of Philosophy, pp. 138-150.

[4] Du Bois, "A Negro Student at Harvard at the End of the Nineteenth Century," W.E.B. Du Bois: A Reader, p. 272.

[5] Du Bois, "A Negro Student at Harvard at the End of the Nineteenth Century," p. 272.

[6] James, Pragmatism, p. 32.

[7] James, Pragmatism, p. 32.

[8] James, Pragmatism, p. 9; A Pluralistic Universe, p. 20.

[9] Locke was the first African-American to acquire the Ph.D. in philosophy at Harvard in 1918. Locke was a student during the close of Harvard’s "Golden Age." Though Locke worked principally with Ralph Barton Perry and George Santayana, Locke was significantly influenced by the works of James and Royce.

[10] Locke, Alain, "Pluralism and Intellectual Democracy," in The Philosophy of Alain Locke, p. 53.

[11] James, "On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings," Writings 1878-1899, p. 841.

[12] James, "What Makes A Life Significant," Writings 1878-1899, p. 861.

[13] Locke, Alain, "Pluralism and Intellectual Democracy," in The Philosophy of Alain Locke, p. 53.

[14] Royce, "William James and the Philosophy of Life," in The Basic Writings of Josiah Royce, p. 219.

[15] Santayana, The Genteel Tradition, p. 55.

[16] James, Talks to Teachers in Writings 1878-1899, p. 708.

[17] James, "Will to Believe" in Writings 1878-1899, p. 478.

[18] Seigfried, Pragmatism and Feminism, pp. 136-138; compare with Livingston, Pragmatism, Feminism and Democracy, pp. 131-136.

[19] Santayana, Character & Opinion in the United States, p. 58.

[20] W.E.B. Du Bois was the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard (1895). His degree was in history.

[21] Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, p. 51.

[22] Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, p. 8.

[23] See, e.g., Du Bois, "The Souls of White Folk," in Darkwater.

[24] Remarkably, he interacted with several of the leading female scholars and social activists of his time; e.g., Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Jane Addams.  In his Autobiography, Du Bois writes, "My life … threw me widely with women of brains and great effort to work on the widest scale.  I am endlessly grateful for these contacts" (282).  It is quite evident that various women did, indeed, have a lasting effect upon Du Bois’ philosophical outlook. See David Levering Lewis, W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919, pp. 190, 370, 377-378, 416, 422-423.

[25] Du Bois, Darkwater, p. 83.

[26] Du Bois, The Autobiography of W.E.B. Du Bois, p. 57.

[27] Du Bois, "Application for Membership in the Communist Party of the United States of America," in D.L. Lewis (ed.) W.E.B. Du Bois: A Reader, pp. 631-633.

[28] Du Bois, "The Negro and Social Reconstruction," in Herbert Aptheker (ed.) Against Racism, pp. 141-143; See D.L. Lewis (ed.) W.E.B. Du Bois: A Reader, pp. 573-633.

[29] Du Bois, Dusk of Dawn, p. 302.

[30] Du Bois, "The Immortal Child," in Darkwater, p. 210.

[31] Du Bois, "Of the Ruling of Men," in Darkwater, p. 168.

[32] Du Bois, The Autobiography of W.E.B. Du Bois, p. 57.

[33] Hook, "Communism without Dogmas," in Pragmatism, Democracy, and Freedom.

[34] Hook, Ibid., p. 111.

[35] See, e.g., Du Bois, Dusk of Dawn, pp. 312-314; The Autobiography of W.E.B. Du Bois, pp. 326-ff.

[36] Lewis, D.L., W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963, p. 567.

[37] He was controversially indicted by the federal government (for failing to register as an agent of the Committee of the World Congress of the Defenders of Peace and the World Peace Council) in 1951 and refused a passport by the Department of State in 1952.

[38] Du Bois, "My Evolving Program for Negro Freedom," W.E.B. Du Bois: A Reader, pp. 617-618.

[39] As I see it, The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America (1896), The Philadelphia Negro (1899), and The Negro American Family (1908) are works which characterize this period.

[40] Addams, Democracy and Social Ethics, p. 9.

[41] I take The Souls of Black Folk (1903), Darkwater (1920), and the novels written during this period to be representative of this program.

[42] Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, p. 82; See Olson, "The Democratic Problem of the White Citizen."

[43] The representative books of this period are Black Reconstruction (1935) and Color and Democracy (1945). 

[44] Du Bois, "My Evolving Program for Negro Freedom," W.E.B. Du Bois: A Reader, p. 618.

[45] Du Bois, "My Evolving Program for Negro Freedom," p. 618.

[46] Du Bois, Black Reconstruction, p. 577.

[47] Dewey, "Creative Democracy – The Task before Us," The Later Works, Vol. 14, p. 226.